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Conditions We Treat: Myelopathy

Myelopathy occurs when the spinal cord gets squeezed anywhere along the spine. Whether you suspect myelopathy, have been diagnosed with it or are looking for a second opinion, our experienced spine specialists can help find the source of your pain and offer treatment options.

Myelopathy Treatment: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

  • Our spine specialists treat a variety of myelopathy conditions, including cervical myelopathy, thoracic myelopathy, cervical spondylotic myelopathy and traumatic myelopathy.
  • Patients from all over the country and the world seek the expertise of our spine specialists, who are equipped to handle even the most complex cases.
  • Our spine specialists are skilled in minimally invasive, motion-sparing myelopathy treatments that allow for smaller incisions, less damage to surrounding tissue and faster recovery.
  • From the office assistants to the spine surgeons, our staff is friendly and caring, ready to answer your questions and make sure you leave with a complete understanding of your diagnosis and treatment options.
  • You will receive post-treatment follow-ups from our staff members, who will guide you on returning to your desired lifestyle.

Myelopathy Treatment Options

There are some nonsurgical treatments available for myelopathy, such as physical therapy, medications and bracing. However, these treatments are focused more on relieving the symptoms and less on removing the underlying cause. Unfortunately, if the compression is not removed, the disease could progress with irreversible changes.

Because myelopathy is a result of the spinal cord being squeezed inside the spinal column, spine decompression surgery may be necessary to resolve this condition. This type of surgery can be performed with or without spinal fusion. Spinal fusion is a procedure that fuses together several spine segments.

  • Spine decompression without fusion is called laminoplasty. This procedure opens up the spinal canal by inserting metal plates or bone spacers into the lamina (the back arch of the vertebra).
  • Spine decompression with fusion can be done from the front (anterior spine decompression) or from the back (posterior spine decompression). To remove pressure from the spinal cord, our spine specialists may also need to remove all or parts of the lamina (laminectomy), the damaged spinal disc(s) (discectomy), or the vertebrae (corpectomy). When tissues like these are removed, the affected portion of the spine often needs to be fused together to ensure stability.

Myelopathy usually develops gradually, but some people may experience a sudden onset of symptoms. Damage and symptoms caused by myelopathy can be reversible with timely treatment, but the main goal of the surgery is to stop any progression of the disease. Request an appointment with one of our orthopaedic spine surgeons to discuss which treatment approach may be right for you.


Spinal Fusion | George and Scott's Story

Scott shares his story about what it was like undergoing spinal fusion surgery with the Orthopaedic Spine Surgery team at Johns Hopkins and how he is now back enjoying his active lifestyle in Ocean City, Maryland — with the full use of his right arm.


Our Team of Spine Specialists

You can rely on the expertise of our spine surgeons, who have helped numerous patients with myelopathy.

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